In America, we supposedly treat all religions the same. That means that if there is a public forum where religious displays can be donated by various private groups, anyone, of any religion, should be able to bring a monument there. However, once again, the wonderful people of the Satanic Temple have proven that to many members of the dominant religious majority in America – Christians – only their religious freedom matters.
Full disclosure: I am a member of the Satanic Temple. No, we do not worship or even believe in any devil. Now that this little detail is out of the way – the monument situation.
In Belle Plaine, Minnesota, there was a monument to veterans in which a soldier was kneeling in front of a Christian cross. After it was pointed out that this was promoting Christianity on public land, the area was turned into a free speech zone. Therefore, anyone was free to donate a monument, religious or not. After this decision was made, The Satanic Temple decided to create a beautiful monument to honor veterans in the Belle Plaine park. Of course, this ruffled local feathers. But, what could officials do? They cannot discriminate in a free speech forum. Here is a picture of the monument, via The Friendly Atheist:
Of course, it had to be approved. However, due to the uproar of many of the town’s Christians not wanting it there, ultimately, another decision was made – AFTER the monument was approved and artists and Temple members put hard work and good money into creating it: That there would be no forum at all. From local paper Shakopee Valley News:
The free-speech zone in Belle Plaine’s Veterans Memorial Park was quietly eliminated Monday night with the swift, sweeping approval of a 15-item consent agenda.
“Our intent was good… but it just became too convoluted,” said council member Theresa McDaniel.
Now, with the city’s reversal of its original decision, the stretch of grass that was once designated for anyone to place memorials will remain empty, except for the American flag stuck into the ground where “Joe” once kneeled.
There was no public comment and no council discussion regarding the free-speech zone during the council meeting. It was one of 15 items on the consent agenda, which were approved as a batch at the beginning of the meeting.
So, once again, they prove that this was never an open forum. If it had been, there would have been no issue with The Satanic Temple having a monument there.
Once again, Christians, hear this – you are not the only people in America. We don’t have mob rule here. The First Amendment guarantees that everyone gets a voice, whether you like it or not. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law. Perhaps with those Bible apps that are surely on your smart phones, you could download a free copy of the United States Constitution as well. It sure seems you could use a lesson there.
Featured image via screen capture from The Friendly Atheist